The Future of Social Security

Social Security taxes- They’re taken out of every paycheck. We all see the figures every few weeks on our stub and although a small part of us wishes we could hold onto that money, we know that it’s going towards a good cause, so we let it slide. We are appreciative of a system that is supposed to take care of us after we retire. At least, that’s how it used to be.

When Social Security was enacted in the 1930’s it was a great bargain for its recipients because payroll taxes were very low.

“For the early generations, it was an incredibly good deal,” said Andrew Biggs, a former deputy Social Security commissioner as quoted in a Fox News article.* “The government gave you free money and getting free money is popular.”

The article says that if you retired in 1960, you could expect to get back seven times more in benefits than you paid in Social Security taxes and more if you were a low-income worker, as long as you made it to age 78 for men and 81 for women.

However, in recent years those numbers have changed drastically. According to a 2011 study by the Urban Institute, the average married couple retiring last year paid $598,000 in Social Security taxes during their careers and can only expect to collect about $556,000 in benefits if they live into their 80’s.

Fox’s article explains why the decrease is happening.

“The shift among middle-income workers is happening just as millions of baby boomers are reaching retirement, leaving relatively fewer workers behind to pay into the system. It’s coming at a critical time for Social Security, the federal government’s largest program.

“The trustees who oversee Social security say its funds, which have been built up over the past 30 years with surplus payroll taxes, will run dry in 2033 unless Congress acts. At that point, payroll taxes would provide enough revenue each year to pay about 75 percent of benefits.”

This leaves future generations either getting fewer benefits or paying higher taxes, and individuals who fall into this bracket are less than pleased. One recent college graduate states that she recognizes the money she pays in now, isn’t going to be waiting for her when she retires. “If I wanted Social Security 50 years from now I would have to hope that someone else is still working and putting money aside in their paychecks to pay for my Social Security at that point,” she says.

Some have taken a more aggressive approach and opened their own private retirement accounts to ease their worry that Social Security won’t provide adequate benefits in the future.

David Armbruster, Investment Advisor Representative in South Carolina, sees more and more clients of the younger generation, who are interested in finding the best place to invest their funds.

“They know that although their parents and grandparents have been able to rely on Social Security, it may not be there, or be sufficient when their turn rolls around, and they don’t want to take any chances,” he says.  “The biggest problem that we see overall when it comes to retirement funding is that costs are going up and benefits are going down. For our younger generations, it is imperative, more so now than ever before, that they be involved in their own retirement planning. IRA, 401K, Roth IRA and other retirement vehicles are becoming more and more important. These younger generations will be responsible for their own retirements. Gone are the days of waiting for Uncle Sam to pass out a paycheck. Self sufficiency is a must.

“There are a lot of wonderful investment vehicles out there. Some of the best programs around right now are annuities. Inside annuities we can find protection from market risk, guaranteed growth moving towards retirement, and guaranteed income once we get to retirement. For many folks, annuities will be the tool that can be used to create their own “social security” checks. Pensions are a thing of the past. Social security is moving that direction quickly. People are going to have to get smarter about their planning or plan on working for a lot longer.”

For more information on the types of products discussed above visit www.cswta.com.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/08/07/new-retirees-receiving-less-in-social-security-than-paid-in-marking-historic/

the future of social security

The future of social security

Cornerstone Voted #1 for Employee Benefits Broker

Cornerstone is SO proud to announce that we have been voted by local readers, #1 for Employee Benefits Broker by the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s Book of Lists for January 2018!

“This recognition is a great honor for us,” says CEO and Founder Mike Haskett. “It’s nice to know that the hard work and dedication we have put in over the last 10 years is really starting to pay off and the community is becoming aware of all that we do for the community both within and outside of our organization.”

Cornerstone has received a number of honors recently including winning the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Ethics in 2017.

Cornerstone Wins BBB Torch Award for Ethics

Financial Review: How to protect yourself from financial fraud

You’re at home on a Tuesday afternoon and you receive a phone call from a local retirement planner, offering to visit you at your home, explain the Medicare program and do a free financial review.

Of course, as an informed consumer, you are skeptical. “What are they going to try to sell me? Is this legitimate?” You may wonder. And these are valid questions. ANY time ANYONE wants to visit you at your home or wants you to divulge personal information, it’s your responsibility to do your due diligence and make sure the representative is legitimate. In a society filled with dishonesty, scams and scandals it can be hard to know who to trust! This article will discuss a few ways you can help ensure that you are dealing with who you THINK you’re dealing with and also that they give you the treatment you deserve.

Step 1- Identification

When you book an appointment with a representative over the phone, be sure to get their FULL name and the name of the Company they represent. Your first step is to make sure that they are licensed to do what they say they do. If they are representing an insurance company, or a group that works with insurance companies, they are required to have a state insurance license. You can easily go online and do a search for the Department of Insurance for the state you live in. Each website usually has something called a “Producer Search” which allows you to inquire by Insurance License Number, or by name.

When you find the name of the person you’re looking for you will want to verify that their license is current and active. If you have trouble finding them, don’t hesitate to contact them back and ask for a State Insurance License Number. If you still can’t find it, or if it’s not active, do not meet with this person! Contact their company back and ask for a manager. The company should be able to provide you with a different representative who can help you. You can also contact the state Department of Insurance for more information on that individual.

If you DO find them online, you’ll also want to search further and see which companies they’re licensed with. If you don’t immediately see a particular company listed, don’t be alarmed. Insurance Agents frequently become contracted with new companies as rates fluctuate and products change. They just want to be able to offer their clients the very best options! But sometimes these companies take time to reflect those contracts in the State’s online system.

Another issue is that sometimes an agent works with an agency of a certain name (For example: Jones Retirement Center) who has contracts with insurance companies (Like, John Hancock or Lincoln Financial) So the person on the phone might say: “This is Mike, with Jones Retirement Center.” but when you look him up online you don’t see any sort of contract listed for “Jones Retirement Center”, you only see “John Hancock and Lincoln Financial”. This is because the State sometimes only lists the contracts for actual Insurance Companies, not for the agencies they work through.

If this is the case, you’ll want to do another online search for the name of the agency they work for. So, using the example above “Jones Retirement Center in Financeville, Washington.” Most agencies have a website and you can use this site to review a little more about the company the agent represents and possibly even verify that the agent DOES in fact, work for that agency. (Many agencies list their representatives on their website.) You might also check other outside online listings such as Yellow-Pages or Google, to read reviews about this agency. If negativity seems prevalent with no response or explanation from the business, then you might want to turn elsewhere for your financial planning advice.

If the agent and agency clear all the above filters, the last thing you’d want to do, is just verify that they are who they SAID they are, when they come to your house for their appointment. Asking to see a driver’s license or insurance license will not throw an honest agent off-guard. They will be happy to share their credentials with you. Hopefully they’ll tell you that they appreciate your diligence and that they’re glad to be working with someone who has taken steps to protect themselves in this crazy world we live in.

Step 2- Fact Finding

If you went to a doctor for a check-up and he walked in the room and handed you a prescription for a heart medication, without ever talking to you, taking your blood pressure or running any other tests, you’d think he was crazy! He knows nothing about you or your situation, yet he’s trying to get you to take a drug for a heart condition! How can he even know you HAVE this condition? And even if he’s right, you might already be taking some other medication to treat it! Who knows how the two could affect each other!

It’s just as unreasonable, for a representative to come to your home and tell you that a certain product or service will best suit your needs, if they haven’t first done a financial review.

Also called a “Fact Finder” a financial review will let your agent know about everything you are and aren’t currently doing with your insurance, investments and savings. Having this information will allow them to inform you of possible problems and offer valid solutions.

It can be unsettling to divulge this type of personal information but keep in mind, you’ve already verified that this is a licensed and trained representative, working for a company that has a good reputation. It’s vital that they have a full picture of your financial situation BEFORE you purchase any new product, or they suggest any changes to your retirement plan.

You may be asked any of the following questions:

What types of investments do you currently have? What are the interest rates and total balance of those accounts? (They will want to see statements if you have them and might even call the company to confirm different details of your policies.)
What type of life insurance do you have? (This is another case where showing the agent your policy and letting them call the company for full details is definitely to your benefit.)
What are the balances of your checking and savings accounts?
What type of health insurance do you currently have?
What is the current state of your physical health?

Honestly answering all of these questions is the only way that your representative can truly evaluate your situation and offer real solutions that could change your life!

If your representative doesn’t take the time to do this type of review with you, they aren’t doing their job. To get the best service in this industry, you must demand it! Don’t settle for less. Give them your full attention, and they will give you theirs.

Together you can work toward a secure future for yourself and your family.

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Cornerstone Gives Back

Cornerstone prides itself on giving back to the community in a number of ways. Aside from small sponsorships, such as helping local schools and community programs, we work hand-in-hand with many local organizations to make sure that whatever we CAN give back, we do.

Our CEO and Founder Michael Haskett shares why he feels that giving back is so important, “I feel that it’s extremely important to use success for the greater good,” he says. “Cornerstone has been a tremendous success and so I make it my personal goal to give back to this community in any way that I can. I encourage all the members of my organization to do the same.”

From 2013 to 2017, Cornerstone was the Premier sponsor for a local children’s cancer research funding, which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for MUSC. Cornerstone has also donated office space to the organization and set up fundraising booths outside local Walmart stores.

As a group, Cornerstone has raised funds for foundations working to cure for Alzheimers, diabetes, breast cancer and heart disease. They have sent donations for disaster relief, music programs, sports programs, international relief missions, food drives and more!

“It really warms my heart when I see many members of my team stepping up in like manner to give back to the community,” Haskett says. This is really who we are at the core- a group of people that truly love our neighbor and want to making giving back a priority.

To learn more visit our giving back page http://cswta.com/about-2/giving-back/. Below are just a few of the ways we have involved ourselves in the community over the years.

Komen Foundation 2009- Team Sponsorship for Race for a Cure

Sponsored 100 Mile Bike Ride for Diabetes 2008

Volleyball Tournament for March of Dimes 2010

Sertoma Football Team Sponsorship 2011 Warriers

Sertoma Football Team Sponsorship 2012 National Championship Redskins

Pinewood Preparatory School Skeet Shooting Team Student Grant 2012

ER Racing Sponsorship for Richard Petty Foundation 2012

 

Lauren’s High School Football Program Sponsor 2011

West Ashley High School Band Booster Program 2009

Palmetto Dart League Sponsorship for American Cancer Society

$5,000 Donation to St. Paul’s of Summerville, Bringing it Home Project

Columbia South Carolina “Rebuild America Beautification Campaign” Grant Winners 2013

JDRF Palmetto Chapter Walk to Cure Diabetes Sponsorship 2007-2013

$6,500 Collected donations for MUSC Children’s Research Lab Equipment PCR Machine

St. Paul’s of Summerville Tea Room Sponsor for Children’s School in Honduras 2011

Summerville, SC Chamber Members since 2012

North Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Members since 2017

North Charleston Chamber of Commerce since 2017

2018 Seacoast Church Mission trip to Haiti sponsorship

 

 

Cornerstone Sponsors Pinewood Prep

Cornerstone places a high value on education! That’s why they’re the presenting sponsor of this year’s Pinewood Preparatory School’s Jeans and Jambalaya! Come out and join everyone on March 3rd at the Dorchester Boat Club for dinner drinks and dancing- all for a good cause!

Click here to learn more http://www.pinewoodprep.com/support-pps/bluejeanball.cfm

School Supplies Donated to Knighsville Elementary

Education is extremely important to Cornerstone and that’s why the CEO decided to give back hundreds of dollars of school supplies to a local elementary school.

On a cold winter morning Ms. Fuller’s kindergarten class was surprised to see the Cornerstone’s founder and CEO Michael Haskett arrive in their classroom. He had great news for them! Their classroom had been nominated for, and had won, a local contest hosted by Mr. Haskett! The prize? $500 worth of school supplies, much needed in their classroom!

Ms. Fuller explained to the class some of the items they would be receiving: story writing journals, flip cameras for projects, reading books and lots more!

Cornerstone is proud to contribute to making “today’s readers, tomorrow’s leaders”

Watch the video below to see the surprise unfold!